In 2007, New York changed the rates for worker's compensation benefits for the first time since 1992. From 1992 to 2007, the minimum weekly payment was $40 and the maximum was $400. Claims made during those years will not benefit from the changed laws, only current and future claims. Now, New York's worker's compensation rates and maximum payments are increasing by $50 a year until July, 2010, when the rates will, for the first time in New York, start being indexed annually to account for cost of living.
Worker's compensation insurance is required in New York. Employers may use a competitive state fund, a private carrier, groups of employers, or they may self-insure. There are no exemptions for employers with a small number of employees. Agricultural workers must be covered for 12 months as long as the farmer's payment to all agricultural employees in the previous year came to $1200 or more. Other domestic employees who work 40 hours per week or more must be covered by worker's compensation insurance, as well.
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New York uses sixty-six and two-thirds percent of an employee's wages to figure the benefit amount. Given the recent changes in worker's compensation laws in New York, the minimum and maximum amounts have changed greatly. The minimum weekly benefit for temporary total disability, permanent total disability and permanent partial disability is now $100 and the maximum rate is set on an increasing scale. From July 1, 2007 the maximum went from $400 to $500. After July 1, 2008 the maximum went up to $550, and as of July 1, 2007 the maximum weekly benefit for all three types of disabilities will be $600.
As of July 1, 2010, the benefits will be figured on 2/3 of the New York state average weekly wage, and will be indexed yearly.
For permanent and temporary total disability, benefits will be paid for the duration of the disability. For permanent partial disability, the maximum number of weeks in which benefits are payable varies widely, based on the percentage of disability the worker suffers with. If the worker is considered 99% disabled, the benefits can continue for up to 525 weeks.
Serious facial, head, neck or chest disfigurement in New York entitles a worker to extra benefits. The maximum benefit paid in the case of these disfigurements is $20,000.
If you have questions or concerns regarding worker's compensation in New York, contact an attorney in your area who can help.